After having a few bad races (all of them in 2009 in fact) I decided to pick one close to home and bring some rukus. I decided it was time to roll out the steel, rigid, singlespeed for a XC race up in Northern Wisconsin. The Crystal Lake Classic was the second stop of the WORS dirt circus and the course always has a lot of challenging surprises should somebody not ride a lap of the course beforehand. It was around a 11 mile lap and pretty rough and bumpy with some short power climbs on the backside of the course through the singletrack and if you ride a singlespeed you already know that if you get on a wheel that’s not using their momentum to their advantage you will have problems keeping yours.
The weather for the race started out just like the previous races with overcast skies and temps in the 60′s but I wasn’t worried about chainsuck or anything like that all I had was one gear so if it did rain, no worries. We took to the line just after the Pros hit the course and then the series director Don Edberg yelled out is trademarked GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! and the open class and singlespeeders left the start chute like we were shot out of a cannon. I spun out my 32×18 gear setup fast but I knew once we hit the singletrack we would already be catching some slower traffic and that we did. Anticipating the traffic was a smart move on the gear selection as a couple of riders had a hard time with getting going again when their moment vanished in a heartbeat, but I was able to accelerate on command. I was really trying to get around a lot of slower riders and most were accomodating, but I may have pushed it too much in one section where there was a downhill leading to a jump to the right and a wuss out route to the left and clearly the jump line was faster so I tried overtaking two riders, I got by the first rider on the way up but on the way down it was either t-bone the other rider or get back and punch the brakes, I did go for the second option and grab some brake, maybe too much front as it put me into an unsolicited nose wheelie to the delight of the large crowd just waiting for something like that to happen. I was kinda bummed I didn’t find a photo of this, but it was hairy to say the least. I was able to fly around the course for the rest of the lap mainly by myself for the most part.
The second lap came and went just as fast as the first no issues over the jump this time, but the front end had a little rattle to it. I couldn’t make out if it was the fork coming loose or the front hub, but as I looked a little more I found my quick release on the front had come a little loose so I rode maybe 5 miles up to that point on that loose wheel but I stopped and fixed it and as I turned around I see a singlespeeder bridging a gap I didn’t even know existed so basically I took off like I was on fire and caught another rider on a geared bike that was moving very fast and I stuck to his wheel till the finish as it began to rain (imagine that) where I put about 3 minutes on the rider that had caught me during my mechanical adjustment. So by the time I came through I finished in 8th place overall in the open/open singlespeed class. This week Wausau WI will host the third race of the WORS series at nine mile rec area which was the home to the 24 hour national championships the last 3 years.